Junk the junk food.
Having just read the column regarding whether junk food should be allowed in schools (Debate, March 2002), I feel compelled to address the educator who responded yes.
As a health care professional with 23 years of experience, I can tell you that banning cola and candy will not cause a medical hardship to any student. On the contrary, allowing the prominent sale of these items is a contributing factor to a growing epidemic of childhood obesity in our country.
Adult onset diabetes (linked with obesity) is now affecting our youth with a tenfold increase in 20 years. Between 1965-96, the sale of pop has increased 300 percent, while milk consumption decreased by 36 percent. There is hypocrisy in having what children learn in the classroom regarding nutrition end as soon as they enter the cafeteria.
Janalee Stock, R.N.
Those concerned about increasing cholesterol levels and type 2 diabetes in children know that children should have only healthy choices in school cafeterias. Milk is healthy if low-fat kinds are used. It is digested as a balanced food, as it contains proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Many children who cannot digest milk can digest cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
Instead of knocking the value of milk, let's get together and ask the federal government to allow soy or goat's milk in the schools, too, so that the few who cannot drink cow's milk can have healthy alternatives.